Guillermo Prieto/
Shannon and the Clams. Credit: Guillermo Prieto/

Oakland’s Shannon and the Clams appeared at Pappy and Harriet’s on Thursday, Sept. 24, in support of the group’s fourth album, Gone by the Dawn, which dropped Sept. 11.

The front of the stage was crammed, with one fan dressed in an undersea-themed outfit. You could feel the love for the band as fans talked about the building excitement.

The band’s sound can be described as retro doo-wop, with some influence from early ’80s California surf punk.

“It is an extreme pleasure to play here,” said Shannon Shaw, the lead vocalist and bassist, as she positioned herself onstage. “This is the best place we have played.”

Shannon has a voice somewhere between a soprano and a tenor. She plays a glittery Danelectro bass, and she can be distracting as you listen to her sing as she plays the bass with amazing intricacy.

Those in attendance were ready to hop the night away, mimicking their best moves from a Gidget film. The fun was interrupted briefly by a knuckle-dragging chap who thought it would be a great idea to dive into the middle of the packed dance floor with a beer in a mason jar in one hand, and a full pitcher of beer in the other. The natural laws of moshing took over, and he was quickly dispensed of by those showered by beer.

The surf-pop song “Rip Van Winkle,” from the 2013 album Dreams in the Rat House, got a cheerful response. The first single off the new record is a melancholy love tune: “Corvette” is a metaphor about love. The Corvette never comes as she waits on the corner, waiting for the hot rod to show up.

“Point of Being Right” a wonderful, pessimistic raw love song: “You’re hiding something big from me, something I’ve chosen not to see, my instincts kept me up at night.”

You couldn’t help but be sucked into the expression of love between the band and the audience. It appeared that everyone was euphoric as they lost themselves in song.

This waterless clambake ended with “You Let Me Rust”—a faultless end from a delightful band.

Guillermo Prieto is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine. That also happens to be the location of his first concert—which cemented his love of live music. A desert dweller for a quarter-century,...